GOP lawmaker says Scarlett Johansson hacking shows need for legislation

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) is praising the arrest of the man who hacked into Scarlett Johansson's phone. 

Bono Mack, a leading proponent in Congress for creating additional online protections for consumers, said the hacking shows how easy it is for people to break into accounts to steal private information, and the need for Congress to take action with legislation.


“This case exposes the relative ease in which sophisticated hackers can break into accounts online and steal personal information. Whether it’s an email, photograph, Social Security number or credit card information, American consumers have an expectation of privacy," said Bono Mack, who represents Palm Springs in southern California.

“Today, Americans are under constant assault. As quickly and quietly as a wallet can be stolen by a skilled pickpocket, your personal identity can be hijacked without you knowing it by online hackers and cyber thieves."

Christopher Chaney, the Florida man arrested on Wednesday, allegedly hacked into celebrities' email accounts, and posted nude pictures online of Johansson. The attack also reportedly targeted actress Mila Kunis and singer Christina Aguilera. 

Bono is the lead sponsor of the SAFE Data Act, which would establish national standards for data security and data breach notification in the event consumers' information is breached.

Bono offered her statement at the opening of the fourth privacy hearing this year at the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Manufacturing subpanel.

Mack argued the time has come for Congress to take action to ensure consumers are notified if their information is breached. It is unclear how the bill would apply to Chaney's alleged crimes, however, since he directly breached the email accounts of his targets.

A member of Bono Mack's staff acknowledged the bill as currently drafted likely wouldn't apply in this instance and said her office intends consider ways to strengthen the legislation, such as potentially expanding its provisions to include email providers.

The staff member said they are consulting with industry right now and weighing the addition of a provision that would require email providers to notify customers if they know or suspect a user's email account has been hacked.

"We're thinking that at a very minimum, [the email provider] should let you know 'we think you've been hacked, you should change your password'."

Bono Mack emphasized at a privacy hearing on Wednesday that passing her data security and breach notification legislation is currently her top priority.